Paul Mason's lecture at the LSE entitled 'Phase Three of the Global Crisis' was delivered to a packed hall.
The BBC Newsnight economics editor's book Meltdown gives his account of the 2008 crash from the front row on Wall Street and the Square Mile as the "weatherman in a hurricane." But London's West End Extra reports that the audience was most interested in Mason's "constant references to a once obscure economist Hyman Minsky."
The Guardian's Comment is Free presents the idea of communism to its readers with an edited extract entitled "Reclaim the common in communism" from Michael Hardt's chapter in The Idea of Communism. The book, edited by Slavoj Zizek and Costas Douzinas, is a collection of writings by leading radical intellectuals to reimagine communism for the 21st century.
Hardt examines the concept of the common in relation to communism, arguing that the
notion of the common can help us understand what communism means - or what it could mean. Marx argues in his early writings against any conception of communism that involves abolishing private property only to make goods the property of the community. Instead communism properly conceived is the abolition not only of private property but of property as such. It is difficult, though, for us to imagine our world and ourselves outside of property relations. "Private property has made us so stupid and one-sided," he writes, "that an object is only ours when we have it." What would it mean for something to be ours when we do not possess it? What would it mean to regard ourselves and our world not as property? Has private property made us so stupid that we cannot see that? Marx tries to grasp communism, rather awkwardly and romantically, in terms of the creation of a new way of seeing, a new hearing, a new thinking, a new loving - in short, the production of a new humanity.
Marx here is searching here for the common, or, really a form of biopolitical production put in the hands of the common. The open access and sharing that characterise use of the common are outside of and inimical to property relations. We have been made so stupid that we can only recognise the world as private or public. We have become blind to the common. Communism should be defined not only by the abolition of property but also by the affirmation of the common - the affirmation of open and autonomous production of subjectivity, social relations, and the forms of life; the self-governed continuous creation of new humanity. In the most synthetic terms, what private property is to capitalism and what state property is to socialism, the common is to communism.
Visit the Guardian to read the article in full.
Andrew Saint's review of A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain for the Times Literary Supplement has some nice things to say, and many criticisms.
For Saint, A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain is
no true guidebook at all but a ranting, panting travelogue eked out with provocatively scruffy little photographs ... [Hatherley] doesn't say much that is perceptive because he doesn't really look. He is in much too much of a hurry to place them in cultural context, say something flip, move on and weave his slashing narrative. Haste is both this book's virtue and its vice. It gives it a vitality and immediacy, but does not make for mature criticism ... its instant and local value is enormous. It destroys shibboleths, and its anger, zest and articulacy make one think.
Saint also remarks on the author's "macho façade and ... semblance of hectic movement." Saint, the general editor of the Survey of London, part of English Heritage's Research Department, then attempts "to define the shape of Hatherley's cultural baggage"
Architecture for Hatherley must be hard, sincere, obtrusive, if possible outrageous, by preference connected to the puritan heyday of the welfare state ... Just as for Betjeman the supreme experience might be evensong in a Comper church menaced by an urban motorway, so for Hatherley it is wandering through the deserted Sheffield Markets with hard-rock tracks in his ears, or talking to ex-punks who remember the last days of Hulme.
The Times Literary Supplement website is "under construction." This review appears in the edition of Friday 28 January 2011.